Modern Tribal Settlements are proposed as basic structures for a growing global network of interlinked human settlements living in peaceful cooperation. They preserve the immensely precious multiple aspects of social and cultural wisdom from former and present tribal societies: including the mutual caring relationship between the younger and older generations, the careful individual education of children, the respectful and joyful relationship of the genders, respect for and conservation of nature, and peaceful relationships with other ‘tribes’. This ‘old’ wisdom is essential for a good quality of life, but it is threatened by extinction, increasingly substituted by quantity of consumption in our fast-living ‘globalized’ world. This leads to strong dependencies between the producers and consumers of goods and finally to a growing imbalance between the rich and the poor parts of the world – with all its visible negative effects.
The ‘modern’ element in the proposed structures is the responsible, decentralised use of one of the greatest gifts nature offers to humankind: solar energies. Modern science and technology enables us to use the abundant stream of these energies (solar radiation and derived forms such as wind, water and biomass energy) to produce local autonomy in water, food and energy and therefore to create freedom instead of dependencies from these vital basic needs. The possibility of merging old social wisdom with modern possibilities to create abundant, clean, decentralised autonomous systems for energy, food and water appears at a very critical moment of human civilization. It represents the ‘other side of the coin’ – instead of unrest, greed, insecurity and social coldness, destruction of nature, wars for scarce resources and ideological purposes which we see growing in a threatening way around us, we can choose the other side of the coin: the solar one. It is a decision which can be triggered by our free will, our rational and sensitive intelligence. It is the chance for a real paradigm shift toward a new era of humanity´s evolution: the solar age. This is much more than a novel development of existing technologies: it is a holistic approach in which technology represents just the required base to develop human skills and talents in a peaceful, cooperative and creative way. One could also say that the principles we can see around us in nature, driven by the immense photonic gift of the sun and its subtle free and complex distribution within creation should logically be the pattern on which to establish the structures of a solar civilization. It is the real possibility to correct failed developments of the past and to realign homo sapiens with creation, so that he acts as real leader – compassionate, caring, accepting his responsibility with joy and fantasy, instead of destroying the potential paradise around us.
Simply by observing the present status of our world, it becomes obvious that the existing centralized systems cannot solve the massive problems the whole of humanity is facing: fights and even wars for energy, food, water, land; the resulting monocultures in agriculture, technology and culture – leading to loss of human life quality; extensive pressure on the ecological and economic systems; mass extinctions, climatic catastrophe; the growing gap between few rich and many poor triggering a wave of mass migration from the poor to the rich countries, to name a few aspects of the crisis we are facing.
Large centralized structures have an enormous inertia which represents their present power. However, their huge size also results in long reaction times toward novel situations and dangers – and the time to react adequately in the situation we are in is becoming shorter and shorter. Large, centralized structures are also mostly non-transparent and therefore often hiding important processes leading to decisions vital for the whole humanity and future generations without their participation; large centralized structures therefore can hardly act in a democratic way. Their need for complicated and complex administration structure bears inherently within it the possibility of fraud like the typical corruption, irresponsible financial speculation and other destructive actions for the ‘normal’ citizen.
Modern tribal settlements, in contrast, are small, autonomous settlements of people aiming for quality of life, harmony and peace with their neighbours and nature. They are transparent in their organisation mode, giving all members of the tribe the possibility to directly contribute to decision making. The newly-formed base of this communication will be TRUST. In this way the entire social structure profits directly from individual activities and propositions. It is not surprising that the roots of democracy have their origin in Ancient Greece and functioned fully only as long as the corresponding structures remained small. One could argue that the total world population at this time was well under 1 billion people and that the problems to be solved in our times, with an exponential growth of the world population of today 7 billion people, lead logically and unavoidably to centralized structures. Their promoters of centralisation claim that only centralized structures are capable of fulfilling the material needs of the steadily growing population. The question of how modern tribal settlements could possibly fulfil their basic needs of water, food, energy, health and education seems from within the paradigm of our dominating, centralized, agro-industrial systems to be an unsolvable, romantic if not naive undertaking. This holds true if the material base of such structures is still based on our recent so-called high-tech culture: fossil fuels, nuclear energy, agrochemistry, rare materials. Those systems can only be economically processed in large industrial units. This dependency is logically and unavoidably leading to larger and larger, monopolistic structures.
However mankind is just entering a new age: the Solar Age. The primary energetic gift of the cosmos to our planet is a gigantic, continuous stream of clean and abundant solar photons freely distributed over the planet. Our technical and scientific knowledge makes it not only possible, but imperative to use this de-central gift in a multifunctional way, adapted to local climatic and specific environmental conditions, to create a growing world wide network of peacefully and intelligently cooperating modern tribal settlements.
We are living a particular moment of history: on the one side the recent world situation is so threatening and for many so hopeless, that resignation and fatalism are spreading. The Golden Age seem to be over although actually just the contrary is the case. The challenge and threat bears in itself the solution: accept the gift of nature; combine it with diverse knowledge; decentralize and democratize your living structures; use cooperation instead of competition; replace domination with mutual support; develop cultural tolerance and compassion instead of dogmatism. Compassion and mercy especially to the momentary underprivileged and losers of this ‘big, crunching monster – globalisation’ will mean we will all be the winners.
All this could be seen as another theoretical doctrine, an ideology toward an ‘ideal’ world – and we all know from history that such attempts usually contributed to worsening the situation.
However the proposed is the contrary of an ideology – it is based on careful observation of nature around us, the wisdom that we are part of it, the knowledge, that – if we really consider ourselves to be the pinnacle of creation – we automatically bear responsibility for it. And – for the moment the most important – we have proven that de-central utilisation of solar energies functions as described. Within the Peace Research Center Tamera in Southern Portugal (see: tamera.org) a living example of a community living according the mentioned principles forms a veritable blueprint for the establishment of an international, growing network of modern tribal settlements.
The author himself and his team have contributed through long years of research and development to some basic technologies, which recently have been presented during the International Sunpulse Seminar in Tamera.
We named the technology that we developed over the years eco-high tech because high efficiency is combined with low technological complexity – hence the possibility of local production – and the inherent fact that only abundantly available, recyclable and environmentally benign materials are used.
So far this eco-high tech is only the tip of an iceberg since new elements are continually being developed and added. Cooperation with other international development groups adds further substance and the embedding in the permaculture and water retention landscape of Tamera and its cooperative social peace and love structure is a solid and very positive attractor for the Blueprint organisation.
Modern tribal settlements are presently in preparation in Australia together with the Aborigine Nation, in Israel (where Israelis will cooperate with Palestinians and Bedouins), in India where a typical village will be equipped, in Bulgaria and Greece, where also the education of refugees will be part of the activities, and in South Sudan.
As we have a great resonance for our activities we foresee enlarging the existing Solar Testfield and laboratory workshop in Tamera to a Technology, Transfer and Training (TTT) Center.